Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network


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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Ah springtime, that season of renewal. It’s a time for sloughing off the excess – for humans this can mean cleaning out the garage and dropping the extra pounds that accumulated over all the cold weather holidays from an overabundance of pies, cakes, and turkey. For most dogs, this means its time to shed their winter coats.

Double Coated Doggies

If your dog has a coarse outer coat with a dense wooly coat underneath it, then your dog is double-coated, and (congratulations!) dogs like yours are the heaviest shedders of them all. A dog’s shedding is most pronounced in the spring because they’re ridding themselves of all the extra insulation with summer just around the corner. This is the time of year when hardwood floors look like carpets and you swear that in a couple of weeks you’ve swept up enough hair to make a whole other dog. Still, they do shed hair all year (especially when they can find places to sit that are difficult to vacuum or the opposite colour of their hair.)

The bad news is, there is no known way to stop a dog from shedding (no matter what claims are made on those late night infomercials). It’s a natural fact of life, just like how people lose hair and shed tiny microscopic skin cells everywhere they go — You can’t stop it from happening!

If your dog didn’t shed properly, he’d probably suffer from a few health issues and hormone imbalances, which could mean even worse problems. Dogs without coats that shed are more prone to knots and tangles and mats, which could end up being breeding grounds for bacterial infections. When mats form in the inner coat, it turns into a hard bump which then rubs against the skin causing abrasions, hair loss and hot spots. If you kept your dog indoors and out of the effects of the seasons, they might not have such a wild annual spring shed, but they’d evenly distribute them over the whole year, which is just as lovely.

Grooming:

There’s no way to stop the shedding, but there are certainly some great ways of managing it, both for your pet and for the household. Giving your pup a nice brush-down on a regular basis when you’re outside with them helps to remove the loose hair from their coat. The more you collect in the brush, the less you’ll have to collect with the vacuum and lint roller.

On short-haired dogs: use a brush with stiff bristles to dislodge the hair, followed by a slicker brush to pull it all out.

On long-haired dogs: use a shedding rake or comb (also called an undercoat rake). These combs have longer teeth, and they groom the dog right down to their skin’s surface, best preventing mats. Combs with two rows of teeth on the shedding rake is the best option to remove the most hair. Be sure not to press too hard, or use brushes with sharp points as they might damage the gentler areas of your dog’s skin.

Some companies offer spray-on formulas that are meant to help the coat release dead hairs. Sometimes these sprays are effective but they’ve also been known to cause allergic reactions in some dogs so if you try it, try it on a small area first. Your best bet is to shampoo them with a detangling shampoo / coat conditioner combo, and feed them a diet that includes Omega 3’s and 6’s so the fatty acids can keep their coat growing in nicely and promote a faster shed.

Lastly, many people find that leaving the grooming to the professionals is a great way to ensure your dog is comfortable, your house remains clean and the stress of trying to get Rover in the shower is lifted. For in-house, or great grooming referrals contact your local Pet Wellness Network Animal hospital. Our friendly staff will be happy to help you find the right solution for your dog, your home and your pocket book.

 

 

*Photo Courtesy of Tabitha – Resident Groomer at Beaches Animal Hospital.

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